An oscillator is an electronic or mechanical device found in items such as clocks, computers, watches, metal detectors and radios. Conversely, an electronic oscillator generates an AC signal by converting direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) via a power supply. In this particular discussion, we will talk about Voltage Controlled Oscillators (VCOs) and Dielectric Resonator Oscillators (DROs). For more detailed information about these devices, there is always a manufacturer sales representative such as Peninsula Technical Sales to offer technical expertise.

Voltage Controlled Oscillators

A voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) emits a variety of sinusoidal signals at particular frequencies which are related to the applied value of an input control voltage. As its name implies, the VCO frequency is determined by a control voltage and it is not time-variant but the oscillation frequency varies from hertz to GHz. The two types of VCOs are:

  • Resonant Oscillators. These are oscillators with signals having sinusoidal waveforms like tank and crystal oscillators.
  • Relaxation Oscillators. These are oscillators that provide a variety of operational frequencies and with signals having triangular or saw tooth waveforms. The frequency relies on the capacitor’s charging and discharging time.

Some of the applications of VCOs include function generators, test and measurement equipment. electronic jamming equipment, electronic music production, frequency synthesizers and radio receivers and transmitters. For more information contact a manufacturer sales representative here at Peninsula Technical Sales, we have years of experience with Voltage Controlled Oscillators.


Dielectric Resonator Oscillators

A Dielectric Resonator Oscillator (DRO) is used in many applications, such as in communication systems, electronic warfare systems, missiles and radar systems. Its characteristics include low noise, compact size, construction simplicity, excellent frequency stability and durable even in harsh conditions. These features make DROs preferred for commercial and military use in radar systems, satellite transceivers and telecommunications.

Phase Noise

Phase noise is a characteristic measurement of oscillator noise contribution. Phase noise is measured at offset frequency points away from the carrier frequency. At 10 kHz offset, e phase noise value is one of the most important characteristics of both a VCO and a DRO and is dependent on the active device used, how much power is delivered and the coupling of oscillation power to the dielectric resonator.

Voltage-controlled and Dielectric Resonator Oscillators are widely used in many applications for commercial and other applications. Learn more about these electronic products and equipment from a manufacturer sales representative such as Peninsula Technical Sales to get first-hand information from an expert.


Example: A Surface Mount VCO for test equipment 

Referred to as the DCRO360500-5 at Synergy Microwave which manufactures this product, this VCO is wide-band used for frequency operations that ranges from 3600 – 5000 MHz. Its power comes from a power supply with a +5V value and its minimum output power level of 0 dBm uses 48mA of current. It is perfect for C-band applications, this VCO boasts excellent linearity and stability.

Example: A Ku-band VCO for electronic jamming.

Having a miniature footprint, Synergy Microwave’s DX013901400-5 provides a frequency output that ranges from 13.9 GHz to 14 GHz. Since it is compact, this miniature VCO is ideal for equipment which is battery-operated and lightweight. This VCO has a very low phase noise, an output minimum power of 0 dBm and is powered by 5 volts at only 22 mA.

Example: A 10 GHz DRO for satellite transceivers

Synergy Microwave’s 10 GHZ Dielectric Resonator Oscillator produces a phenomenal phase noise of -111 dBc/Hz@ 10 kHz offset from the carrier. This DRO can be both mechanically and electrically tuned with a 3 MHz (Typ.) range. Ideal for M-QAM modulation in LTE, LMDS, fixed PTP digital radio/Satellite links as well as being used in Radar and Research Laboratory applications. The performance is achieved with a bias voltage of 7-10 volts and as little as mA of current.




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